SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will review the "punishment framework" for employers who deploy their maids illegally, said Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang in Parliament on Monday (Oct 5).
Action will be taken against errant employers, regardless of whether these employers were aware that they were deploying their maids illegally.
"This is to remind the employers that they are ultimately accountable for their foreign domestic workers and should take steps to ensure that their household's deployment of the foreign domestic workers does not contravene the law," Ms Gan said.
READ: Yearly average of 16 employers fined over last three years for illegally deploying their maids: MOM
Ms Gan was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Yeo Wan Ling on the actions taken by MOM in the Parti Liyani case. Ms Yeo also asked if the actions were consistent with similar cases in the past.
Ms Parti, the former domestic worker of then-chairman of Changi Airport Group Liew Mun Leong, was illegally deployed to work in the home and office of Mr Liew's son. MOM did not take action against the elder Mr Liew, but issued a caution to Mrs Liew and an advisory notice to Mr Karl Liew.
"In determining punitive actions for illegal deployment, MOM’s key considerations are the degree to which the well-being of the foreign domestic worker has been compromised and the extent of the illegal deployment," said Ms Gan.
Ms Parti’s case was handled by the ministry with these considerations in mind, said Ms Gan. The actions taken against the Liews were also in line with similar cases.
A yearly average of 550 complaints of illegal deployment were made from 2017 to 2019, added Ms Gan. Of these, MOM took action against an average of 155 employers a year, she noted.
READ: Parti Liyani case: Ministerial statement next month will address MPs' questions, says Desmond Tan
Ms Parti had been convicted in March last year of stealing S$34,000 worth of items from Mr Liew and his family. A High Court judge overturned the conviction on Sep 4 this year, outlining several issues with the conviction findings and how the case was handled.
On Sep 8, Ms Parti was cleared of her last charge, which accused her of having items that she was suspected to have obtained fraudulently. She was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal of the fifth charge.
Ms Parti then took to court to seek disciplinary proceedings against the prosecutors in her case. If she is successful, proceedings could be initiated to assess if there was any misconduct by the prosecutors.
A ministerial statement is expected to be made during next month's Parliament sitting to address questions raised by MPs on the case.